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441

He dragged his foot across the mark it had made. "Hit
ain't nuthen," he repeated, as though not to her.

She told them good-bye, shaking hands with each one, Mr.
Munn last. " I want to thank you for all the trouble you've
taken," she said to Adelle Proudfit. " I'm grateful and I won't
forget."

" We taken none," the other woman responded. " And we
want you to come a-visiten. When you kin."

"Real visiten," WiUie Proudfit added.

"Thank you," she said. She took one step, to the edge of
the porch, as though about to go. She stopped, hesitated an
instant, then turned, and, quickly leaning over, kissed Sissie
on the cheek. "Good-bye," she said, speaking quietly,
embarrassedly, and went down the path. She moved
rapidly, and did not look back until the buggy had drawn
a little way down the lane. Then her hand waved once to
them.

They stood on the porch, watching the buggy recede, slowly,
down the valley. Already the sun bore down brilliantly on
the length of the field by the lane, and the earth steamed in
the light.

Adelle Proudfit and the girl went into the house before the
buggy was out of sight, but the men waited. When it was
gone, Willie Proudfit remarked meditatively: "Hit makes a
man feel lak dirt, sayen them things. Her pappy dead, and
her lak she is."

Mr. Munn made no answer.

Without speaking again, Willie Proudfit stepped off the
porch and walked toward the stables.

Mr. Munn leaned against the corner post of the porch. The
buggy was gone now, hidden by the foliage at the last visible
turn of the lane. Willie Proudfit had gone into the stables.
He would be sitting there, on a chunk in the musty shadow
of the hall, with a piece of broken gear across Ms knees,
mending it. The brown skin of his brow would be wrinkled
in attention under the pale hair. Or he might be sharpening
a blade, for hay was to cut soon. Such as it was* The sound